Wilmington Fire Department

Mission: To work in partnership with the citizens of Wilmington in an effort to provide an effective and professional response to all man-made or natural hazards with well-trained emergency services personnel to provide a safe environment and enhanced quality of life for all.

The Fire Department Is...

The City's 3rd largest department with a total FY 2024 General Fund budget of $24,212,009.

It accounts for 13.3% of the General Fund.

About the Fire Department

The Wilmington Fire Department is a career, professional fire department established in 1921. The department currently maintains six engine companies, two ladder companies, and a marine firefighting force. The department is divided into two functional divisions, each under the command of a Deputy Chief: the Operations Division and the Fire Prevention Division.

In recent years, the department has promoted a ride-along program, which gives city residents an opportunity to experience the functions of the fire department and evaluate possible career decisions. In addition, department officials have shown their commitment to providing the best emergency services delivery through the promotion of continuous training, active involvement with community associations, and implementation of a Customer Satisfaction Survey.

FY 2024 Year-to-Date Expenditures by Division*

*Move the slider at the bottom of the graph to see budget and prior-year data.

FY 2024 Year-to-Date Expenditures by Category*

*Move the slider at bottom of the graph to see budget and prior-year data.

How Many People Work for the Fire Department?

Fire Department Strategic Plan

Citywide Goal: Enhance City Services

The Department works to ensure a four-minute response time to structural fires, a national standard. In addition, the Department strives to confine all fires to the room of origin, which significantly reduces damage to the affected structure and adjoining properties. Adequate response times by highly-trained personnel play a key role in saving lives and preserving property.


Achieve an emergency response to structural fires from dispatch to arrival of four minutes for the first arriving unit per National Fire Protection Agency Standard 1710 (NFPA 1710).


Keep at least 90% of structural fires confined to the room of origin.


Increase the number of building inspections performed by the Department.


Clear 100% of violations found during building inspections.


Reduce civilian fire-related deaths to zero.


Reduce civilian fire-related injuries to zero.

Citywide Goal: Promote Professionalism

The Department is striving to promote professionalism and enhance public safety by ensuring that all firefighters are well trained and in peak physical condition. The implementation of a physical fitness program and an injury reduction program will help promote a healthy, well-prepared workforce while also reducing time off for sickness and injury. The implementation of an officer development program training course will allow for effective training of our officer ranks to an accepted National Standard. This program, the National Board on Fire Service Qualification, will train our personnel to better prepare them to become effective administrative and fire ground officers.


Implement a physical fitness training program for firefighters with 100% participation.


Reduce the total number of injuries sustained annually by firefighters.


Ensure all Battalion Chiefs, Captains and Lieutenants Complete Fire Officer I Training.


Ensure all Battalion Chiefs, Captains and Lieutenants Complete Fire Officer II Training.


Achieve and maintain a 14-working-day turnaround time for the review of plans permitting process.

Citywide Goal: Inspire Young People to Achieve Success

Objective: Increase the number of youth participating in the Fire Explorer Program

Involving youth with the Fire Department Explorer Program will assist young people ages 14-20 to possibly chose a career in the emergency services field. The Explorer program gives young people a positive experience and teaches them about the fire and emergency medical fields. Leadership, respect, honor and commitment are the core values of the Wilmington Fire Department Explorer Post 100.

Six members of the Wilmington Fire Department Explorer Post 100 have been hired as Wilmington Firefighters over the past several years.

Fire Department FY 2024 Annual Budget

Total FY 2024 General Fund Budget: $24,212,009

Total FY 2023 General Fund Budget: $22,966,789

Total Increase from FY 2023: $1,245,220


Major Funding Changes from Prior Year:

Personal Services increased by a net $944,264 because of the following changes:

  • Salaries and Wages are budgeted to increase by $510,964. Regular Salaries are up $334,509 based on an estimated 2.5% COLA along with mandatory step increases. In addition, Overtime has been increased by $198,000 to better reflect prior year actuals and ensure minimum staffing requirements are met.
  • Total Employee Benefits are up $476,017. City-sponsored pensions are budgeted to decrease by $130,535, due to the implementation of a revised pension amortization schedule, along with an increase in the State Pension passthrough (which acts as an offset to the City pension contribution requirements). Conversely, contributions to the State Pension increased by $204,322, reflecting rate increases in the State-sponsored plans. Finally, Hospitalization increased by $321,719, due in part to Citywide increases in healthcare costs.

The Materials Supplies & Equipment (MS&E) account group increased by a total of $155,242 largely because of the following changes:

  • Consultants increased by a net $79,675. Most of this increase is due to the biennial promotional exam, budgeted at $70,000 (and previously budgeted at $45,000 in FY 2022). In addition, the Fire Marshall’s Office has budgeted a $15,000 increase to the plan review contract.
  • Wearing Apparel and Safety is up $35,708 across all lines. This majority of this increase is for the $20,000 purchase of a new hose, with the remainder the result of cost increases for uniforms, gear, and protective equipment for current firefighters and the upcoming rookie class.

Click here to read more about the Fire Department's FY 2024 Budget.